In May of 2017, the New York legislature enacted the “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act. This novel Act provides heretofore unprotected rights to freelancers doing business in New York. If you’re wondering what is New York’s “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act, this article explores the breadth of the law and offers you solutions if you think your rights under the Act have been violated.
The “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act (FIFA) is designed to equalize employees and freelancers in terms of when they are compensated and what rights they have.
The Act includes several important provisions, namely:
- If a freelance job is valued at more than $250 there must be a written contract and timely payment of the amount due
- The Act establishes a remedy for freelancers who are retaliated against and sets a fine of $25,000 for violations
- FIFA outlines an administrative process through the New York Department of Labor for freelancers to file complaints
Who Does FIFA Protect?
FIFA protects all freelance workers who do business in New York. A freelancer is defined as “any individual hired or retained as an independent contractor by a hiring party to provide services for compensation.” An “independent contractor” is someone who isn’t subject to:
Factors that may establish a worker as an independent contractor include:
- Having an established business
- Advertising as a business
- Keeps insurance coverage
- Assumption of risk
- Setting their own rate
- Other factors
FIFA does not protect the following types of independent contractors:
- Sales representatives
- Licensed healthcare workers
For an experienced appraisal of whether you qualify as an independent contractor under the legislation, consult with an experienced Employment Lawyer.
Does New York’s “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act Apply Outside of New York?
In some situations, New York’s FIFA has reached outside of state lines. Any freelancer who enters into a working relationship with a New York business is covered. For example, if a freelancer from Texas is hired by a New York business, that freelancer is covered by the law.
How Long Do I Have to Bring a Claim?
In New York City, you have two years from the date of the violation to bring a claim under FIFA.
What if I am Retaliated Against Under FIFA?
Retaliation under FIFA is also illegal. “Retaliation” is any action that:
- Denies work opportunity
If the employer is found to have a pattern of violating the provisions of the “Freelance Isn’t Free” Act, they will be subject to a $25,000 fine.
What Damages Are Available for FIFA Violations?
Individual violations of FIFA will be adjudicated in state court. The award of damages is possible, including:
- Statutory damages
- Double damages
- Injunctive relief
- Attorney’s fees
- Other damages
To maximize your compensation, consider working with experienced Discrimination Lawyers.
How Do I Bring a Claim Under FIFA in New York City?
If your freelancer rights have been violated under FIFA, you may be eligible for remedies, including damages, when you file a claim.
Bringing a claim under FIFA is easy when you have the right team on your side. At Ricotta & Marks, P.C., we work tirelessly to protect freelancers from unfair business practices. If you have a possible claim under FIFA and want to know if you are eligible for damages, contact us today at (347) 535-0999 for your case evaluation.